Inside the Brain of a Sneaker Head

Throughout the halls of Cedar Shoals, many students sport expensive sneakers. Some students just put it off as a fashion choice, but to sneakerheads, it’s much more than that.

“My favorite thing about the sneaker community is the friendliness. If you don’t know someone, you can easily become friends with them by talking about sneakers and recent drops,” said Mohammad Alserafei, 9th grade.  

“I can make connections with people online before the shoe is released, and I know they can secure the shoe,” said Matteo Castile, senior and sneaker entrepreneur. Castile uses bots to procure high demand shoes.

Bots are internet software that closely monitors the website of your choice, eyeing the release of new, hyped shoes, and buying the sneakers within seconds, virtually guaranteeing the user a successful sneaker purchase. Bots became popular in the shoe game because of shoes that sell out within seconds of being released. Sneakerheads love the rush of the purchase and the feeling they get from securing a coveted item.

“I got into collecting sneakers because it looked like a fun hobby. It also feels really good when you get a new shoe,” said Alserafei.

Being a part of the sneaker community does not come cheap. Kanye West’s popular line of Yeezys are an example of how sneakers can be very expensive; they can range from prices of $200 to $5,000 depending on how they are bought: from retail or resale.

“I’m wearing Yeezy’s right now, and I dropped $700 on them,” Alserafei said. He earned the money by saving up from chores, birthdays, and any other way he could get it.

Sneakerheads make money while doing what they love. For example, someone could buy a pair of Pirate Black Yeezys for $200, and resell them for $1,300. People may be willing to pay that amount of money after not being able to buy their favorite shoes from the past, feeding a sneaker addiction, or just feeling satisfied about picking up a new shoe.

“I got into the reselling game because I’ve always really liked shoes. I figured I could make some money with reselling, but I also knew I could expand my collection,” said Castile. Reselling shoes feeds his “addiction” while also funding his purchases of a variety of shoes he wouldn’t be able to buy without the revenue from selling shoes.

Newcomers who want to start reselling need to be knowledgeable about the process before trying their hand at it.

“Don’t sink a ton of money into shoes that aren’t going to sell,” said Castile. “You need to be educated about what you’re doing before starting out.”

People may think being a part of the sneaker community is just for the youth, but Mr. Matthew Baker, science department, is into sneakers as well.

“I think the majority of it [the sneaker community] would be young people, but there’s a lot of OG people that have been in the sneaker game for a really long time and understand stuff that was happening in the 80s that a lot of kids may not understand now. A kid could put on a pair of Air Jordan 1’s, and not understand how big a deal those shoes were when they first came out and how different it was,” said Baker.

Older sneakerheads lean toward collecting more original shoes than the newer, hyped shoes.

Respondents to a recent BluePrints survey suggested that 16% of student respondents have spent $200-$300 on a pair of shoes. 32% of students have bought shoes off of Ebay or another person.

Mr. Baker often buys his shoes off of Ebay or Craigslist for cheaper deals. More experienced collectors like Baker find cheaper after-market alternatives.

“I look for good deals. I buy them on Craigslist or Ebay, so I don’t pay a lot. I think the most I’ve paid was $140,” said Baker.

While students and teachers have always connected over popular culture, sneakers are a relatively new item that can create bonds between educators and their pupils.

“When students see me wearing sneakers that they know about or are interested in, it helps me build relationships with them, which is one of the main reasons I like to wear them to school,” said Baker. At that moment, Baker was wearing Jordan Laney 5’s, which he paid $50 for.

“There is a pair of Jordans for everyone. Just because you don’t like the Jordan 11’s or Jordan 7’s, doesn’t mean you won’t like the Jordan 1’s or the 14’s” Baker said. “Everyone can find a pair to wear because they’re comfortable and iconic. They won’t ever go out of style.”